The Vineyard boys varsity soccer team clinched a berth in the MIAA Division 2 state tournament Tuesday at Dan McCarthy Field with a 2-0 Eastern Athletic Conference win over archrival Bishop Feehan. The Vineyarders are 8-0-2 and 4-0 in the EAC. They have yet to concede a goal on home soil this season.
For a 15-minute stretch in the first half, the Purple were the team that have earned that unbeaten record. In the 13th minute, Sam Entner outhustled a Shamrock midfielder, took off on a 50-yard sprint toward the Feehan goal, and rolled the ball under the diving keeper for a 1-0 lead. The Vineyarders kept up the pressure, stretching the field and repeatedly feeding Jason Lages in space down the left flank. Lages increased the Vineyard lead in the 23rd minute by spinning 180 degrees and curling in a 20-yard shot inside the right post.
That’s the good news.
The rest of the match was a tedious, ugly affair. The Vineyarders were their own worst enemies and kept the Shamrocks in the match with a bushel of turnovers.
“It was a win, important, ugly, not at all what we practiced,” coach Damon Burke said after the match. “I’m very happy that we won and stayed undefeated, but it was just awful. They put us under a tremendous amount of pressure because we insisted on giving them the ball in dangerous places…. The beginning was fantastic: the two goals were great, but after that it was all downhill the longer that game went on. If that game was 20 minutes longer, we could have lost it.”
Goalie Matt Stone was as active in the second half as any Vineyard keeper has been this season. He had the lone highlight of the second half, in the 55th minute, diving to punch away a Shamrock shot headed inside the right post.
“Matt Stone was a bright spot,” coach Burke said. “He faced more shots than we’ve had all season and was definitely up to the task, but the defense did him no favors.”
The Vineyarders play an EAC match at Somerset Berkley on October 3 and host Barnstable on Tuesday at 3 pm.
The Vineyard junior varsity also defeated Bishop Feehan Tuesday afternoon at MVRHS. Nainoa Cooperrider, Nick Bonneau, and Doug DeBettencourt scored in a 3-1 win.